PCOS/Insulin Resistance Support Support for us with any of the following: Insulin Resistance, Syndrome X, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or other endocrine disorders.

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Old 01-14-2005, 11:29 AM   #1  
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Default Anyone have the symptom hirsutism (hair!!!)?

That is my worst symptom. When I was just thirty pounds lighter it wasn't a problem...so my first goal is to get to 199. I hope this symptom goes away! It's so hard to lose weight..this can be an effect of PCOS as well. So frustrating.

At the gym yesterday, I took my shower and was getting dressed in the locker room and I was chatting with to women who are also regular members and one woman said, "you girls are lucky - just wait until you get to my age, and you start getting hair on your FACE!" And the two other women went along talking about menopause and hormones and such. I wanted to say, I DO have it and I'm only 26!

It started when I got to around 215 pounds, I'd get a few stray hairs on my chin but then they became regulars. Shaving them only made them blunt and more noticeable, so I started plucking. I do swipe the "moustache" area with my razor daily because it's too fine really to pluck...not noticeable. But the chin area really frustrates me. I have to pluck every single day. DH has started helping me with this because he found me crying over the tweezers one day a year or so ago. So now I pluck what I can see daily and he gives me a thorough plucking a couple of times a week. There are many that I can't see. They just keep growing back!. And when they are plucked, they are very thick and black. On the sides and front of my chin, and under my chin. I also have thick sideburns. Lately, Dh has found a couple strays on my cheeks.

A couple of years ago when I was diagnosed, my doc gave me a prescription for Spironolactone which is a diuretic used for other purposes as well but is supposed to help control androgen/testosterone levels, especially for women with PCOS. It didn't do much for me. The hair did seem to thin a bit, but it just made plucking hard to do. So I stopped taking it.

I really don't think it's that noticeable unless you look closely and you can see the stubs of hairs on my chin if I haven't plucked, but the main thing is how the hairs become ingrown on my chin...thus causing them to have to be dug out and plucked or they'll become infected. This happens very often for me. DH is constantly digging them out of my chin and this has left many little scars on my chin area, and the appearance of a "shadow" around my chin area in general. Another symptom of PCOS can be slower healing of cuts and bruising/scarring which I definitely have noticed. My tinted moisturizer that I use helps a lot. It's just so embarassing and a pain, and frustrating.

I also get ingrown hairs on my legs often, specifically my inner thighs where my legs rub together - I do a lot of cardio on the elliptical machine and this often leads to ingrown hairs becoming infected and I get blisters in that area often. I had a bad one last night that DH took care of. I am so glad he's so understanding and helpful but I can't help but feel ashamed sometimes.

I don't know, I guess I just wanted to vent and see if anyone else has the same problems. Fortunately, my period has gone back to being totally regular, just slightly long (35-36 days) and I do ovulate...so I'm not on any meds any longer...but this hair thing is really making me upset. It's so embarassing I am re-thinking about posting this!!! But there's no other place I can go, so I'll just submit this and go on about my day. Thanks for letting me vent!

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Old 01-14-2005, 11:30 AM   #2  
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I found this site for anyone who suffers or just wants to know more.

http://www.sarahealth.com/health_hirsutism.html
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:06 PM   #3  
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Girlie,
I have that symptom as well. Its been pretty bad, and I do have to shave. I don't pluck the hairs. I don't get ingrown ones on my face, but have gotten them in other locations including my arms and inner thighs, also my back and occasionally my chest. I've not noticed slow healing though, and don't scar for the most part unless I scratch a scab open by accident. I have a cat, and have had him bite me and claw me. You can't see very many scars from his attentions or from the occasional attentions of my students when they are mad.
I take spironolactone, and have been for about a year. It took at least 10 months (about the time I've been on it regularly, because we tried aldactazide (spiro mixed with HCTZ) first, and then spironolactone on its own a few months later, so I've really only been on spironolactone since the end of March 2004) before I noticed any changes. My good friends noticed it first, because they're always looking for ways to encourage me. The first thing that happened was I stopped getting most of the little hairs on my arms. By this point, the ones that are there are very thin and fine, hardly noticable at all. I teach students with emotional disturbance so you can imagine that they will find ANY weak area to pick on, so my arms and chin were sore spots for me. I had no choice but to wear short-sleeves during spring and summer, but I would purposefully buy the shirts too big so the sleeves covered the lower part of my arm just under the elbow which was the worst area.
I was shaving daily (sometimes TWICE a day!) to keep the chin under control, and while it wouldn't kill me to do it every day, the hairs are thinner and fine, so its not as noticeable.
The notes with spironolactone says that it takes many months for the drug to work on things like hirutism, or hair loss. That is a big issue with me as well, and horrible because I used to have very, very thick, fine hair. The one time they tried to give me a perm, it turned out like a puff-ball, and to get any curls at all I had to put curlers in when my hair was very wet and leave them in for at least 12 hours. My hair never had a barrette it couldn't get rid of, and french braiding my hair was nearly impossible. Now its very thin and fine. Its worst when its wet, which is hard on me since I swim so much. It is also hard to find a hair stylist that knows what to do and how to handle my hair to minimize the really thin spots. The only bright spot there is that without the weight of the thick hair, my hair curls nicely on its own.
They just increased the dose of spironolactone I take. I was taking 1 50 mg tablet per day, and now take 2 50 mg tablets. I'm hoping that will help the thinning hair on my head issue, because I've read that once the drug starts to help, the hair can grown back and things like Rogaine for Women will work.

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Old 01-15-2005, 02:04 AM   #4  
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Mouse:
Thanks for sharing your story. I have thought about seeing a dermatologist...a friend of mine has a very mild PCOS...she had a form of electrolysis/laser therapy for her chin. I just want to lose the weight and see if that works.

I used to shave my chin area, but since I have thick black hair, it would start to look like stubble and be very noticeable underneath my skin. I do still shave my "moustache" area once a day very lightly with two or three swipes. My chin is so out of control and thick that I have to pluck. It's not like a beard or anything, but each day I have to pluck at least 10-20 hairs. When DH does his bi-weekly cleanup, he plucks many, and has to dig out several.

Arrgh.



Have you ever
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Old 01-15-2005, 08:59 PM   #5  
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I have dark hair as well, and while I had olive-toned skin when I was younger (probably until my junior year in college), I no longer have it. I used to keep my summer tan for months into the winter, and that was without trying to tan (just swimming or being a camp counselor), with SPF 30! Now, of course, I wear a shirt whenever I swim outside and lots of suntan lotion because the spironolactone, contraceptives, and phenergan I take all carry warnings that they can make you sun sensitive. I also take benedryl for an insect allergy (I'm allergic to the protein in insect venom, and get extremely high blood pressure from any type of bite... I kinda wonder how taking all this spironolactone, which lowers high blood pressure affects that allergy...) and that drug can make you heat sensitive. With all of them together, I'm not a fan of being outside in the summer anymore.
If you want to hear something really funny: with all the swimming I've been doing, the ends of my hair turned blonde. It looked like the reverse of a bad dye job (you know, when the roots grow out at top, and the person doesn't get it taken care of?). So my hair is REALLY short now because I had to get it cut off.
My chin hair is noticeable, and I hate it... but I couldn't pluck things out. The shaving works for me. I've thought about getting one of those ultrasonic shavers they advertise on TV, but don't want to order it off a TV ad.

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Old 01-15-2005, 09:24 PM   #6  
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I have it as well, started when I was about 16 and got worse over the years. I was shaving every day. Last year, at the age of 28, I decided to get laser treatments which have improved it greatly with only a few hairs here and there.

It was a very emotional issue for me and I am glad that I did the laser treatments, even if they were expensive.
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Old 01-16-2005, 07:02 AM   #7  
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HI Girlie
I have had thicker sideburns and at one stage before my operation(for endometriosis) I had thick dark hairs on my arms which felt coarse. I have had 5cm hairs grow on my arms! Luckily, I do not seem to have it around my chin, although I do have a shadow there which is related to PCOS.
I am with you on the slow healing. A while back my cat scratched my hand and it left a cm long scar. My dog just gave me a little scratch and it scarred.
It IS so frustrating to see others lose weight if they ate a triple cheeseburger days before. MY DH has not been on a diet and has been eating take out. He went without it for one day and lost five pounds. I was crying because I think of how much I try, and how much more difficult it is for us sufferers. I think even though it is so hard, it is important not to give up. If we can lose the weight we will feel so empowered as we know it has been achieved through true willpower.
Good luck with your weight loss journey, I am sure you're doing great. Sounds like you have a lovely guy taking care of you. Try not to let the hairs get you down too much. Remember it's hormonal imbalance, not you. :-)

Last edited by Ocean Girl; 01-16-2005 at 07:06 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 01-16-2005, 02:15 PM   #8  
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I have the same problems and I was taking spironlactone but had to stop recently. The spironalactone was making my period last for 2 weeks and my breast started to leak and I developed a kidney stone. I did see a difference while I was taking it after the first few months. I wax my chin area and I am attempting to wax my lip but it HURTS! The other thing the spironalatone helped and I really miss it for is acne and water retention. I gained 10 lbs of fluid and my face broke out when I stopped taking it and it still has not gone away. I really wished I could take the spironalactone but it just doesnt agree with me
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Old 01-16-2005, 10:20 PM   #9  
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I'm taking Spironolactone for hair loss from an adrenal condition. My doctor knows I have bad facial hair, but he never told me Spironolactone helps control that too. Nice to know.
I tried the cream Vaniqa (is that what it was called?) that's suppose to slow down facial hair growth. It left the spots where I'd plucked very red and irritated. Didn't use it for long.
I used to religiously pluck every night back in high school. Nowadays I pluck once in a while and just use a small electric trimmer to keep it down. I've actually seen other girls on campus with more prominent facial hair that me. Besides, I didn't think I attract that much attention, lol.

Many of you have mentioned waxing. Do you get it done professionally or at home? If at home, what brands are good for tackling the darker hairs?
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:04 AM   #10  
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I get my brows waxed professionally, but nowhere else. The problem with waxing is that you have to let your hair grow out a bit before waxing will help and well, I don't want to let my chin hairs grow!

Plucking is a pain but it works. I have read instances where people who've lost weight lose their symptoms of PCOS so I'm going to hope that this goes away as I lose weight.

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Old 01-18-2005, 11:29 AM   #11  
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Girlie,
As you can see you are not the only one with the hair problem. I also have to worry about if anyone can see it, and if they can what are they thinking. I have to shave my face ( chin, neck, and side burns) just so I feel better about myself. I have sensitive skin, and cant put all the creams and such on my face. I think my DR. did give me the Spironolactone but I discontinued taking it for some reason or the other. I am very greatful for my husband, he understands why I have to do this, and he tells my brothers all the time he would rather have a WOMAN that shaves and tries to take care of the problem, instead of let it go. As you can probably tell, I am new to this site, but just wanted to give you my support. Good luck with all of your goals.
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Old 02-02-2005, 11:03 PM   #12  
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Hi, its my first post to the PCOS area.
Dark facial hair really sucks. I am inspired by Nelie saying laser treatments really helped, when money is spare I would love to look into it. How bad was your problem Nelie?
I shave every day and wear heavy makeup to disguise shaving rash/regrowth. I try not to let it get me down but it's a freaking hassle and I hate it.
Nearly a year ago I decided I was going to fight back against my body and change the way it worked. I walked like a madwoman every morning, ate small amounts during day and big meal at night, no bread but still pasta, brown rice, crackers etc and basically put up being hungry. I also visualised myself shrinking and KNEW I could do it no matter what. I think that helped.
I've lost 130pounds (60kg) and about 40pounds (20kg) to go.
Of course I still have a chin full of hair with no changes.
I am getting some more blood work recently to see how it's all going.
I feel we can get control over this strange cluster of symptoms that still has doctors slightly confused.
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Old 02-03-2005, 10:34 AM   #13  
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Goddess:

Awesome, you have worked really hard! Let us know how the bloodwork goes!

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Old 02-03-2005, 10:47 PM   #14  
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For those of you that pluck, Revlon has a new mirror out that is super-magnified. They sell it, and some $12 'diamond tweezers' on a big display that says the mirror 'finds hairs you didn't know you have'. This is at my Walgreens, right in front of the front door in the middle of everything, lol. A man must have chosen the location of the display.

For those interested in laser, call your endocrinologist or other facilities in the area that treat PCOS patients, and see if they do it. My endo's office does it at a reduced rate. They charge enough for expenses and labor, but don't make a profit. I think they average $50 a visit.
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Old 02-23-2005, 09:04 PM   #15  
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I hate the hair thing so much! Not only do I have PCOS, but I am of 100% Mediterranean decent (known for extra hair)! I take 150mg Spiro daily, 500 metformin, and BCPs, but none of that seems to help. I've also had laser hair removal 4 times. The laser works for about a month, which is worth it to me, but it is expensive at $350 a pop (I think the doctor is even giving me a little bit of a discount), and the hair grows back eventually.
It seemed, for a while, that I was getting over the bad feelings I had due to the hair on my face, but lately these feelings are returning. I can only pluck the dark hairs because the razor produces quite visible stubble. And of course, the plucking injures my skin, leaving blemishes that only call attention to the areas of my face I don't want people looking at.
For now, I guess I'll just have to deal. It takes me nearly two hours a day to pluck so sometimes I just don't do it. If other people are bothered by my manly appearance, they can pay for my laser *lol*
So for anyone suffering...YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!
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